Ten Things I’ve Learned from Poetry

Jonathan Katz. Photo courtesy of NASAA

Jonathan Katz. Photo courtesy of NASAA

October 7, 2014By Jonathan Katz, CEO, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

 

As a young faculty member in the English department of Wichita State University, I worked occasionally as a poet-in-the-schools for the Kansas Arts Commission. For this program (funded in part by the NEA, I am proud to say), I traveled to small communities and met with teachers, administrators, students, and community groups to share poetry and promote its ongoing teaching as a valued part of the curriculum.

 

 

Like many creative writing teachers, I was influenced by Kenneth Koch’s ground-breaking book, Wishes, Lies and Dreams, and so I was profoundly affected, in one little town, to recognize that what my students presented as their dreams were, in fact, the cartoons I had seen the previous Sunday morning in my motel room. I changed my methods, began to incorporate a lot of imaginative exercises demanding interplay between images and language, and have never stopped thinking about how our American life will be diminished if we don’t succeed in keeping every child’s full range of senses open, fresh, capable of observing and criticizing the enveloping world, and of developing its individual identity. This is why I was pleased to see state arts agencies share the vision of the NEA and the Poetry Foundation to create the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest and why I am not surprised to have seen participation grow rapidly to more than 365,000 students annually. – See more

 

 

 

 

P.S. Art 2014: Student Artworks at The Met

PSArt01[1] As a teacher I have witnessed firsthand the transformative powers of The Arts.  Students learn to express themselves in ways that could never be accomplished through an algorithm or literary analysis.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers P.S. Art, an annual exhibition of work by talented young artists from New York City’s public schools, showcases the creativity of prekindergarten through grade 12 students from all five boroughs. The seventy-seven artworks include paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs, mixed-media works, collages, drawings, and video. Read more…

 

 

A Work Based Learning Program at Vital Theatre

“What I learned is I can’t go through my life silent. Everybody has something in them.”
Caitlin Perkins, Grade 11
Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School

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Lindsay Shield’s Classroom

My students need your help! We just got a sewing machine donated to our drama program, but we don’t have any thread or notions! Give back to NYC education. For the next TWO DAYS, any tax-deductible donation to our project http://www.donorschoose.org/lindsay.m.shields gets matched dollar for dollar! Help the next generation of theater professionals!

My students are 11th and 12th graders at a New York inner-city high school of over 3,000 students. They are brave and bold, with 90% receiving free or reduced lunch. This class is comprised of seven different cultural backgrounds. The students have learned to work together as a theatrical ensemble to address social issues. They recently finished film projects on child soldiers, police brutality, and poverty in the U.S. Despite their own personal and financial hardships, they work toward the greater good, illuminating world problems for their peers through drama and film.